Posted by Marcus J Freed
There seems to be a flaw in the human design. We all become jealous at some point or other. This is natural. We see that other people have things that look nice, and we want it. Maybe ‘it’ is their car, their income, their house, their holiday home, their wife, their boyfriend, their blinging jewellery. The thing standing between us and ultimate happiness seems simple – if could change the ‘their’ into ‘ours’, then all of our problems would be solved.
Or would they?
The Kosher Sutra takes us up Mount Sinai, to the last of the 10 commandments. “Do not covet”, sayeth the speaker. Do not be jealous of your neighbour’s house. Don’t be jealous of his wife, his male servant, his au pair, his ox, his donkey, don’t be jealous of anything that belongs to him (Exodus 19: 14). Compared to the more simple commandments – ‘Do not kill’, this seems to be overkill. The verb ‘covet’ – ‘Tachmod’ is mentioned three times, and there are seven categories of things that we shouldn’t be jealous of. Enough, already; we get the point.
Or do we?
Everyone has to say something about jealousy. The Yoga Sutras referred to the ‘klesha’ (affliction) of ‘raga’ (attachment), which is one of the Top Five Mental Disturbances Of All Time. Elsewhere it refers to the need for ‘aparigraha’, or non-coveting. On the yoga mat we practice not being jealous of someone else’s posture, or body, or yoga clothes, or anything that is theirs, and we focus on our own practice.
Why does the Kosher Sutra introduce seven categories of items for non-jealousy? Possibly because we are human beings, 7 is the mystical number that represents the human world, and we all have big ambitions. We all have desires, and it is through ambition that we create great things, but we can be far more successful when we recognise that there is enough sustenance on earth to fulfill everybody’s needs.
We do not need the income of our neighbour but can earn our own.
We do not need the house of our friend but can build our own.
We do not need the partner who has just rejected us but can go and find new love.
Be free, be free, be free. Tap into the abundance around you and use your desires to become great.
Marcus J Freed is the creator of Bibliyoga and yogi-in-residence for JConnectLA & Jewlicious Festivals. He’s also the President of the Jewish Yoga Network and Director of Yoga Mosaic USA. Next friday he’ll be teaching the Kosher Sutras in LIVE segments on Fox TV’s Good Morning Memphis. Tune in on Friday 28th January 2011
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January 14, 2011 | 12:15 pm
Posted by Marcus J Freed
Kosher Sutra: “with the blast of your nostrils…you exhaled with your wind” (Ex 15: 8-10)
Soul Solution: Find strength in times of challenge
Posture: Bhastrika/Bellows Breathing
Body Benefit: Unleash energy and generate inner heat
Some times we all need to go to war. Once more unto the breach, dear friends. It may be an internal war ‘gainst our own emotions. It may be for good reasons, to prevent ourselves from doing something we’ll regret.
Our Kosher Sutra features the powerful exhalation from God’s ‘nostrils’. This anthropomorphism describes the sea waters piling up so that the Hebrew slaves can escape Egypt, and the Divine breath paves the way for freedom. In the 12th Century, Rashi confirmed the translation that this was indeed an exhalation while Ramban connected it with a verse from Isaiah (40:24); ‘Even if He were to blow on them, they would wither’. A powerful, connected breath achieves great things.
We can generate inner strength through this powerful breath, focused through the nostrils. Pranayama is the yogic science of energy control through the breath, and today’s focus is ‘Bhastrika’ breathing where you have a succession of quick exhales by ‘pumping’ the abdomen.
Before the classic Battle of Agincourt in Henry V, the king is rousing the English troops before they have the French enemy running to save their baguettes;
“In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
… **Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height**. On, on, you noblest English.”
Henry V, Act III
Our mind and body can be controlled and rallied through the breath of our nostrils. The Hebrew word for exhalation is ‘Nashaf’ and these three letters N-Sh-F rearrange to form ‘Nefesh’, which is a Hebrew name for our soul.
Godspeed to you, be strong in body and soul.
To practice Bhastrika/bellows breathing, take several sharp, explosive exhalations through your nostrils, ‘pumping’ abdomen. Just exhale in quick succession, and the eventual effect is to calm the mind’s movements and generate more energy. Try 15 quick exhalations, take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can, before relaxing and repeating the process.
Marcus J Freed is the creator of Bibliyoga and yogi-in-residence for JConnectLA & Jewlicious Festivals. He also the President of the Jewish Yoga Network and Director of Yoga Mosaic USA. He teaches in Los Angeles every wednesday night - http://yogaandkabbalah.eventbrite.com/